Aussiosities [8 March 1918]

[Editor: The “Aussiosities” column of anecdotes and humourous items. Published in Aussie: The Australian Soldiers’ Magazine, no. 3, 8 March 1918.]


The bombing instructor was handing out the dinkum oil on the method of clearing a sap by bombing along it from each end towards the centre. “Now,” he asked, “how would you tell when you had finished off Fritz, and were bombing into each other?” “By the language, sir!” said an experienced bomb-pusher. — “Base Plug.”

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D.W. wants to have a bet:

Will you please enter for the Meanest Man On Earth Stakes the bloke who puts the pork in the tins of issue pork and beans.

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The brand new buckshee Bombardier was posting his first sentry: “Wot yer gotter do,” he explained, “is guard all this ’ere stuff, ’alt any of the ’eads if they come pokin’ about, and stop anyone who looks at all superstitious.” — “Worrall.”

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The Aussie contemplated the fit of the tunic which had just been issued to him with supreme disgust. “This flamin’ tunic’s no good, Q.M.S.,” he said. “It’s about four sizes too small for me!” The Q M.S. regarded it carelessly. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” he announced firmly; “it’s a good fit.” “A good fit!” gurgled the wearer of the tunic, with tremendous contempt — “a good fit! It’s more like a blanky convulsion!” — “Duckboard Harrier.”

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This letter has been received by the C.O. of an Aussie unit:

Dear Sir,
Having seen by chance a lot of the Australians, and I like them so much, I have felt emboldened to write to you. I am a lonely lass, who, despite many offers, has as yet found no kindred soul. I think that solitude has its disadvantages and that life after all is not life without Love. In other words, I have enjoyed my freedom, and would now have my wings clipped.

Perhaps you might introduce me to some kind gentleman with a loving heart whom I could esteem.

I am, yours faithfully,

S——— C———

Aussie feels that something ought to be done about that poor lonely lass. He suggests that a minute should be sent to all units asking for the names of men with experience in wing-clipping.

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Heard on the duckboards:

“Why are the leave boats like American flags?”


“Because they’re all full of stars and stripes!” — “Lance Jack.”

— — — — —

“You don’t get me taking on this foot-slogging game in the next war,” said the foot-weary Pongo, who believes m making arrangements well ahead so that he won’t be taken by surprise. “I’m going to be a tunneller in the Flying Corps next time.” “What’s wrong with stretcher-bearing in the Observation Balloon Section?” asked his cobber. — “Worrall.”

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S.A.F.E. explains the breed:

I should like to enter into this origin-of-the-word-Digger event. I know nothing at all about the origin of the word, but seeing as how knowing nothing at all about the subject seems to be the necessary qualification for entrance, I’m in it, if you will sign my pass. The pedigree of Digger shows that he is well bred. Like all good breeds, however, there is a streak existent Back-o’-beyond, and without going into too much detail and wasting your time and my paper, I put forward the following: DIGGER is from DIGIN by INVITATION; INVITATION is from GOODFELLOW by NATURE; DIGIN is from DUGOUT by BASE; DUGOUT is out of DANGER by LONGSERVICE; BASE is out of LUCKYCOW.

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Marching Song.

(Sung to the tune of “Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy.”)

Keep your head down, Allemand,
Keep your head down, Allemand,
Last night in the pale moonlight
I saw you, I saw you,
You were fixing your barbed wire,
So we opened a rapid fire.
If you want to see your sisters,
Your brothers or your mothers,
Keep your head down, Allemand.

— — — — —

A tour in the trenches feels like hours of monotony, punctuated by moments of intense fright. — E. J. Greive.

— — — — —

“Still Digging 16374,” gives his views:

What makes you refer to Digger as “the new word?” Why, my old father and grandfather were “Diggers,” and they got the hundred per cent. golden stuff, too. Aussie, engaged in less profitable digging in this shell-shocked land, has merely revived the word.

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Marching Song.

(Sung to the tune of “The Church is One Foundation.”)

We are the Ragtime Army,
The Aussie Infantry.
We cannot shoot,
We don’t salute:
What b——y good are we?

And when we get to Berlin,
The Kaiser he will say,
“Hoch! Hoch! Mine Gott!
What a b——y rotten lot
To draw six bob a day!”

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A certain Battalion had been impressed by the C.O. with the importance of passing messages along the line quickly and plainly, and N.C.O.’s were instructed by platoon commanders to exercise the men in passing messages whenever opportunity offered. A few nights later a practice night stunt happened. One conscientious Sergeant thought it a good opportunity to fetch off some message-passing exercises. It was a dark, wet night, and the order to commence the advance was a long time in coming. Here’s some of the messages that went along the wet, waiting line:—

“From Private Fedup to Private Gutzer: Pile arms on the move and carry on with disorganized games!” “From Private Coldfeet to Private Deadbeat: The platoon will advance when the black flare goes up!” “From Private Quatresous to Private Tootsweet: Put on gas helmets and carry on smoking.” — “ACTING PRIVATE.”

Aussie: The Australian Soldiers’ Magazine, no. 3, 8 March 1918, pages 2-3

Editor’s notes:
buckshee = free

C.O. = commanding officer

duckboards = wooden planks used as walkways, placed in the bottom of trenches and on muddy ground to help stop soldiers from sinking into the mud

N.C.O. = non-commissioned officer

Pongo = infantry; said to have derived from the line “where the infantry goes, the pong (smell) goes” (“pong” meaning “smell”)

quatre sous = (French) low value, worthless; a French phrase that refers to something cheap or of little worth; literally, it means “four sous” (a “sou” is the nickname for 5 centimes, only a 20th of a Franc, and so “sous” came to refer to coins of low denomination, a small amount of money, small change) (“sous” also means “under” in French)

stars and stripes = a reference to officers (who generally wear “pips”, or stars, on their shoulders) and non-commissioned officers (who generally wear stripes on their sleeves) (in general usage, “stars and stripes” refers to the flag of the United States of America)

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